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January 30, 2015

Common Hotel and Resort Injuries

Common Hotel Injuries

Whether you are traveling for business or pleasure, when you plan a stay at a hotel or resort, you generally expect a comfortable, relaxing experience. Hotels and resorts work hard to please guests with many different types of amenities, such as bars, restaurants, pools, hot tubs, spas, fitness centers, conference centers, and more. Unfortunately, having so many different amenities in so many different areas on the premises increases the risk of injury to guests. If you are planning to stay in a hotel or resort, you should be aware of the following common injuries suffered by guests in order to try to identify dangerous conditions and avoid ruining your trip with an injury.

Falls

Slip and fall[1] accidents can happen for a number of reasons in almost any location. Sometimes, people slip and fall simply because they lose their balance or coordination. However, in other situations, slip and fall accidents occur because there was a hazardous condition on the hotel or resort premises. Such conditions that commonly cause slip and falls include the following:

  • Wet or slippery floors
  • Frayed or torn carpet
  • Uneven flooring
  • Objects or debris left in walkways
  • Cords that are not properly secured to the wall

In addition to slip and falls, hotel and resort guests also run the risk of falling from heights. Falls are particularly common in stairwells. Falls down stairs commonly occur due to uneven stairs, unsteady or broken railings, poor lighting, and more. Additionally, guests may fall from balconies or landings due to inadequate or broken railings. If hotel management fails to properly maintain the property and allows dangerous conditions to exist, that hotel has acted negligently[2] if injuries to guests result. Fall injuries can cause serious injuries, including traumatic brain injuries (TBI),[3] neck and back injuries, broken bones, and more.

Pool accidents

Hotels and resorts often have one or more pools and/or hot tubs for the enjoyment of guests. However, water always comes with the risk of drowning and other accidents. In order to keep guests safe, every property owner that has a pool has a legal duty to keep the pool and surrounding areas free from hazards and in compliance with all state and federal pool safety regulations. Some of the requirements to avoid injury include the following:

  • Hotel Pool AccidentHaving an appropriate enclosure or barrier around the pool to keep small children from wandering into the area and falling in the water.
  • Making sure the door or gate leading into the pool area has a working lock, latch, or key card reader that small children cannot open.
  • Keeping all walking surfaces around the pool maintained, including avoiding slippery surfaces and objects that may cause guests to trip and fall into the pool.
  • Making sure there are no rough or sharp surfaces inside the pool that may cause injury if a swimmer puts their feet down or holds on to the side.
  • Having pool and hot tub drain covers that are in compliance with the Virginia Graeme Baker Pool & Spa Safety Act (P&SS Act)[4] to prevent swimmers from getting suctioned to the drain or eviscerated.
  • Posting all necessary warning signs including times when there is no lifeguard on duty, rules of the premises, depth markers, “no diving,” and more.

These are only some of the steps hotels and resorts must take to ensure that all pools and hot tubs are safe for use and to prevent injuries to guests. Unfortunately, not all hotel and resort pools are adequately maintained or comply with all necessary laws. For this reason, you should never let your children enter a pool area unsupervised and you should ensure they have all needed flotation devices while they are near the water. You never want to risk a drowning accident,[5] as such accidents can often be fatal or cause permanent brain damage.

Defective furniture

Updating the design of all the rooms in a hotel or resort can be extremely costly. Not only would the owner have to pay for new furniture and other décor, but they would not be able to rent out the rooms during renovations. For this reason and more, many hotel and resort rooms have not been updated in years. This means that furniture may be old, concrete walls may be crumbling, and more. People are injured more often that you think that guests are injured while inside their actual rooms—either a chair breaks while they are sitting in it, they run into a sharp, jagged edge of a table, a television falls over on top of them, or many other room-related accidents. These accidents may sometimes cause only minor injuries, such as cuts or bruises, but also have the potential to cause serious contusions, fractures, head trauma, and other injuries that require medical treatment.

Fitness centers

Many resorts and hotels have fitness centers available for guests who wish to work out while on vacation. Working out inherently comes with the risk of injuries such as pulled muscles, strains, sprains, and more. However, when a hotel does not properly maintain the fitness center, other types of injuries may occur. For example, if equipment is not properly inspected, repaired, or replaced when necessary, the equipment can malfunction and cause serious injury. Additionally, having weights and other objects in walkways can cause guests to trip and fall down. 

Inadequate security

Resort InjuryHotels and resorts also have a legal duty to take reasonable steps to keep guests safe from violent acts on the premises. Violent crimes such as robberies, assaults, sexual assaults, and more can easily occur in hallways, parking garages, stairwells, elevators, and even in guest rooms. The following are some measures that hotels and resorts can take to prevent violent acts against guests: 

  • Having ample security staff at all times
  • Prominently placing security cameras around the premises
  • Having adequate lighting in parking garages, stairways, and other isolated areas
  • Having a secure key card or other lock system on all guest rooms
  • Having procedures for handing out replacement room keys

Inadequate security[6] is only one way that hotel and resort guests suffer injury, so always be vigilant during your stay to try to avoid serious injuries.

[1]http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Slip_and_fall

[2]http://www.law.cornell.edu/wex/negligence

[3]http://www.cdc.gov/traumaticbraininjury/

[4]http://www.poolsafely.gov/pool-spa-safety-act/

[5]http://www.cdc.gov/homeandrecreationalsafety/water-safety/waterinjuries-factsheet.html

[6]http://www.lexisnexis.com/legalnewsroom/litigation/b/jverdicts/archive/2012/10/19/inadequate-security-cases-involving-third-party-crimes-yield-favorable-results.aspx

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